Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pillsbury Easy Fruit Pizza (with my own tweak) is AMAZING!

Look up Easy Fruit Pizza on Pillsbury's site, and this image will pop up. I was wanting an easy treat for our annual New Years Even game night, and decided to make this. Of course, I had no fruit dip and had no idea how to make it exactly. I didn't know this recipe was on the site, so I had to improvise on my own.

What I used:

1 roll of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie from the refrigerator section.

1 block of cream cheese

1 cup (ish) Brown Sugar

1 tsp (ish) real vanilla extract

Fruit: Strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, apples, bananas, raspberries, grapes. You could use any combination or fruit of your choice. You could even drizzle some dark chocolate or caramel over this.

I pressed the sugar cookie in to a parchment lined cookie sheet to form a pizza crust. I baked it following the directions. I allowed the cookie crust to cool completely, then I mixed the sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese until it was well mixed I spread it in evenly, then topped with the chopped up and sliced fruit. It was AMAZING!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Managing the Chaos of Homeschooling and Life

I am often asked, "How do you do it all?" How do I manage homeschooling, homemaking, "me time," doctor's appointments, photography, and still maintain some semblance of sanity? How do I prioritize and make sure EVERYTHING gets done?!

We get caught up in wanting to make sure everything is Pinterest perfect, and when we fail in those endeavors, we get caught in a vicious cycle. At least I do. I want the house to be perfect. I want it to be "white glove ready." How many see photos their friends post and think, "WOW! Their house is so clean! Why can't I get my floors that shiny, my shelves that neat?" Etc...etc...etc. How many see photos their friends post and think, "Thank God I'm not the only one with a dirty bathroom mirror right now!" **RAISES HAND** I am so guilty of this! Just the other day a friend posted a photo and there was a basket of laundry in the background and I felt such a huge sense of relief. And it was that moment that got me thinking, WHY?! Why in the world do I need to validate myself, my home, and my abilities based off of a picture with a basket of dirty laundry in the background?

I was recently told that I was too stubborn, and it was going to kill me. Why? Because I try to do everything on my  own. I am too proud I guess? to ask for help, or to admit that I need help. I've spent the last week+ trying to get my house in order, and Pinterest perfect, for an appraiser to come. I find such difficulty in managing the chaos of homeschooling and homemaking, and finding my rhythm and routine. Couple that with health issues, and housework is neglected because I just can't do it all on my own. So after this week of refinishing stairs, redoing trim, touch up painting, my mom comes by and says, "Your house is fine, and it was fine before. Why are you doing all of this? Just do a bit of surface cleaning and you're fine." I just sat there in shock. Complete, and total, shock. WHAT? The house is fine?! Then she started telling me how I can't do it all alone. I have Mr. B to teach and homeschool, I have his health issues to deal with, on top of multiple appointments weekly. I have my own health issues. It's no wonder I'm overly stressed. She said it was ok to ask for help. So I did. Now my house is appraiser ready, I feel a lot better, and we are on our way to a new routine.

The way I manage the chaos is by admitting I can't do it all alone. It's by developing a routine. And it's by letting go of the Pinterest Mentality that everything has to be showroom perfect, all of the time. That's the first, and most important step. You can't do it alone.

Next, I plan. Yes, I am a planner. I love using my Hey Mama! planner, and find it a straight up necessity! There is no way at all I could manage all of our appointments if I didn't have one place to keep them all down. I can easily keep down days, times, doctors, and even directions. It's really a great tool for me to have.

I also try to streamline my time by accomplishing multiple things. If we have to go to the children's hospital, especially if it requires an overnight stay, I try to get as much done in the area as possible. There are a few grocery stores I like in the area, there may be times I can schedule appointments so that they work together, and we usually do our science center or zoo trips at this time, too.

Socks. Ok, I know that's crazy, but socks create Chaos for me. I toss out nearly ALL of our socks, and I went to the store and I bought several packs of all matching socks. So I no longer have to sit there trying to find mates. I hate that. Ohhh how I hate that! Life is so much easier now. But that's the key, it doesn't matter if it is socks, or something else, that causes your chaos-identify it and find a way to streamline it. Maybe it's meals? If so, a meal plan like FreezEasy may be just the thing you need. Money issues hit us all, and it can be a headache trying to keep track of bills. That could be your chaos? I worked hard to get to where we pay all of the bills at one time each month. If you can't do that, try to set it up through your bank account to pay automatically so that you don't have that stress. I work out monthly budgets 3 months at a time, so that I know what money we have each month. I told ya, I'm a planner.

Now, on to the neglected part: Housework. I need help here. I let go of the notion that my house has to be museum and show room ready all of the time. And, I ask for help. I ask for help from Mr. B, I get help from M., and I get help from family as they offer, or as I need. Who cares that my master closet is overstuffed? Am I in there enough to really be bothered by it? Nope. I'm not. One day it won't be so stuffed.

I also have a schedule for cleaning. Mondays and Sundays are major purge days since trash night is Monday night. Tuesday is my deep cleaning/surface cleaning day since I have all of the junk out of the way. Then each day after that I dedicate to a particular zone or area, tackling something "project" like once a week or sometimes once a month, if it's a big one like refinishing stairs.

No one is perfect, and pictures are manipulated into making us feel less than what we are-even when it comes to our homes. It's ok to ask for help, and it's ok to not be "Pinterest Perfect."

What is your chaos, and how do you manage it? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Conquer your Clutter Super Bundle SALE!

It's that organizing time of year folks, and there's no better time than now thanks to this GREAT home organization and de-clutter bundle! This clutter buster bundle has everything you need to get your home off to a great start this year! So hurry on over and see the HUGE savings !!!!! The Conquer your Clutter Super Bundle is full of really great resources that I'm sure will really ease your decluttering quests!

**Post may contain affiliate codes. These codes do not cost you anything, but I may earn a small commission from any purchases made using affiliate codes.**

Autistic Siblings

A friend just posted that she was concerned her daughter may have autism, and how she felt bad for wishing her baby ends up being neurotypical. You see, her son, and I guess her husband too, all have autism.

My son has autism. And I'm pretty sure his little sister is on the spectrum, but she's not mine so I can only go by what I see when I see her. It's quite common for siblings to all be on the spectrum, and I would imagine wishing for at least 1 out of 3 to be neurotypical. Why would that be a bad thing to wish for? No one should be made to feel guilty for something like that. I hate that she feels guilty for wishing something I think most would wish for. Would I change Mr. B (or his sister)? NEVER! Do I wish he didn't have to struggle so much? YES! Yes I do. And for that, I'll choose to not feel guilt!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Kind of a breakthrough moment.

I'm always telling Mr. B to use "his own" words. He likes to repeat, word for word, things he hears on TV, reads in books, etc. To imagine my delight tonight when he was telling me all about Cupid, in his own words! He did a lesson in D'Aulaires' Greek Myths,  a review product we received a while back. If you follow that link, you'll actually see the review we did. Anyway. the lesson was on Cupid. He was just amazed to read that people thought getting hit by Cupid's arrow could make them fall in love haha!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Check out the NEW CursiveLogic Coloring book!

You all know how much I adore CursiveLogic, right? Well, imagine my delight when I received an email notification that they are coming out with an "adult coloring book" that is aimed to teach the CursiveLogic method! I've not had the blessing to hold one of these sheets in my hand and take a pencil to it ...YET...but I've been checking it out online, and I just had to share the awesome news with all of you! Right now, they are offering a way cool Early bird promotion for only $5.00! BUT there's only 100 of these copies to be bought, so you better hurry if you want one of these early bird specials!

Check out the video posted on the Kickstarter page for more info!

**Please note this is NOT a sponsored post. I just love this idea, and I wanted to share it with all of you!**

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Am a Woman, too.

A friend of mine posted a really nice post conveying her thoughts and feelings on the women's march. Of course, with social media, it only took minutes for her post to be shared thousands of times, and that spoke volumes to me on how we think as a society overall. While her words or more or less true, I do think the overall message yesterday has been vastly missed by so many. This was not a march about Trump, or abortion, or any 1 thing. It was a movement that has been building for quite some time. I've seen numerous friends sharing this message, mostly women, and I have to wonder if they have forgotten the women before them who gave so much for them to enjoy what rights we have today.  Here is her original post:

I am not a "disgrace to women" because I don't support the women's march. I do not feel I am a "second class citizen" because I am a woman. I do not feel my voi
ce is "not heard" because I am a woman. I do not feel I am not provided opportunities in this life or in America because I am a woman. I do not feel that I "don't have control of my body or choices" because I am a woman. I do not feel like I am " not respected or undermined" because I am a woman. 
I AM a woman. 
I can make my own choices. 
I can speak and be heard. 
I can VOTE. 
I can work if I want. 
I control my body. 
I can defend myself. 
I can defend my family. 
There is nothing stopping me to do anything in this world but MYSELF. 
I do not blame my circumstances or problems on anything other than my own choices or even that sometimes in life, we don't always get what we want. I take responsibility for myself. 
I am a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a friend. I am not held back in life but only by the walls I choose to not go over which is a personal choice. 
Quit blaming. 
Take responsibility. 
If you want to speak, do so. But do not expect for me, a woman, to take you seriously wearing a pink va-jay-jay hat on your head and screaming profanities and bashing men. 
If you have beliefs, and speak to me in a kind matter, I will listen. But do not expect for me to change my beliefs to suit yours. Respect goes both ways. 
If you want to impress me, especially in regards to women, then speak on the real injustices and tragedies that affect women in foreign countries that do not that the opportunity or means to have their voices heard. 
Saudi Arabia, women can't drive, no rights and must always be covered. 
China and India, infantcide of baby girls. 
Afghanistan, unequal education rights. 
Democratic Republic of Congo, where rapes are brutal and women are left to die, or HIV infected and left to care for children alone. 
Mali, where women can not escape the torture of genital mutilation. 
Pakistan, in tribal areas where women are gang raped to pay for men's crime. 
Guatemala, the impoverished female underclass of Guatemala faces domestic violence, rape and the second-highest rate of HIV/AIDS after sub-Saharan Africa. An epidemic of gruesome unsolved murders has left hundreds of women dead, some of their bodies left with hate messages.
And that's just a few examples. 
So when women get together in AMERICA and whine they don't have equal rights and march in their clean clothes, after eating a hearty breakfast, and it's like a vacation away that they have paid for to get there...
This WOMAN does not support it.

If I may, I'd like to take a moment and reply to this. 

1.) No, you certainly are not a disgrace to women. As Americans, we all have a right to our opinions. But let us not forget that it wasn't that long ago that women were seen as property of their husbands, and had no right to their own opinions. They had no right to support or not support something on their own accord. It's great that YOU do not feel as if you are "not respected or undermined" or like a "second class citizen." That is wonderful! Why? Because that's not the case for millions of women worldwide. And it's not the case for a good portion of women in America. It is degrading and disrespectful to not be able to walk down a street without rude gestures and catcalls. It's disrespectful and degrading to not be able to go buy a buy of chips at Walmart without a man and his son, who are complete strangers to you, acting like they are going to try and grope you while making obscene remarks about your physical appearance. I'm very happy that you have not felt as if you were not respected, because I can tell you a great many have. If I were a man, would I have those same reactions? I certainly didn't see them acting that way towards the males in the aisle. I also didn't see any of the males condemn their behavior. It's accepted. It's considered "ok." Well...it's not ok, and it will never be ok.

2.) You can make your own choices, speak and be heard, and VOTE because of marches, protests, and women who laid down their lives to give all of us those rights! Less than 100 years ago, women did not have a right to do any of those things. How soon we have forgotten what our grandmothers and great grandmothers fought to give us.

3.) Yes, you can work if you choose. Again, a right won by women who protested. Remember the 1950s when a woman's place was in the kitchen? And her sole objective in life was to care for her family, care for her home, and care for her husband? You can thank the women on the 1960s for the ability to work outside the home and not have your character and womanhood questioned. Today, in 2017, we are still fighting for equal pay for doing the same job and equal treatment in the workplace. Did you know, compared to their male peers, women earn approximately 80%? So for doing the exact same job, with the same experience and qualifications (and, in some cases more...) women will make 80 cents on the hour compared to men making 1.00. that 20% difference may not seem like a lot, but for a salaried male early 50K per year, his female associate will only earn 40K FOR THE SAME WORK! How is this OK with anyone?

4.) You can make the choices over your own body, you can defend yourself, and you can protect yourself. And that is GREAT! But many can't. 1 in 3 women have been subjected to sexual abuse at some time in their lives. 1 in 3. 33.3% of women....I'm thankful to God you are one of the 2 who haven't, because I am the 1. I am the 1 who has been a victim, who is a survivor. I could defend and protect myself, too....but not when a male who nearly doubled my weight was holding a knife to my throat. I was pretty much beyond being able to defend myself at that point in time. And don't think married women are not subjected to sexual abuse by the husbands, they are. And it wasn't until a generation ago that they were able to prosecute their husbands! Remember that whole property thing I mentioned earlier? Yeah....the law did not cover sexual abuse or rape by a husband against his wife. It was understood she was his, and he could do as he wished-beat, rape, whatever. In the mid 1970s Marital Rape was starting to be seen by a crime. It wasn't until 1993 that ALL 50 states criminalized Marital Rape!

5.) YES! Women in other countries need to be heard, they need rights, they need to be respected. There were marches on EVERY Continent yesterday. Yes, all of them, including Antarctica. This is more than just a US movement, and we march for more than ourselves. But because someone else has it worse, does that mean we stop trying to fight for ourselves and for them? NO! No it doesn't! Why? Because there are people in our own neighborhoods, in our own families even, who suffer some of the same atrocities as these women. There are women right in the US who suffer. We do not give up on them. And our ability to protest, to march, to fight gives voice to women all over the world! It tells leaders all over the world that women are valued. Women are important. Women were created by God to be a blessing, not to be abused and ignored. We fight for ourselves, and we fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

I am a woman, you are a woman. And I fight for you, too. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day

My son was entirely too happy to see Jimmy Carter. What was your favorite part?

Friday, January 13, 2017

So thankful

No more bi-monthly appointments for us 3 hours (one way) from home! We found a therapy center 15 minutes away! WOOHOO!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

SchoolhouseTeachers.com {REVIEW}

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}
If you have been thinking about signing up for a Yearly Membership at SchoolhouseTeachers.com, now is the PERFECT time to do so! With over 300 courses now being offered, and new added regularly, there is truly something for everyone! You will find online streaming courses, printable worksheets, and even menu plans and daily planners! SchoolhouseTeachers.com has something for everyone, preschool to adult! 
For this review, we were graciously given a 1 year membership. 
We have had a Yearly Membership for three years now, and find so much use from it! For this review, I decided to explore the 6th grade offerings. Here is a screen shot to show you some of what is offered under this grade level tab. 

That's a lot! 

First I started with Geography and Every Day Explorers. I didn't pay much attention to the description, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this course spends 1 month per state to let you and your family "explore" the state! How cool is that?! We started with Georgia on day one. Here is a screen shot to show you how neat this is! 

It's all planned out for you too, so you don't have to worry about how to pace the program, or anything. Super convenient. 

I have noticed one fantastic change on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. In my first review of the site, I noted how I really didn't like have to go to the course description page and click click clicking my way around to get to the guts of the course. Well...Now you can just fast track right to the guts part! I love that, and find I use it much more now as a result. It's really great. 

See there? You just click on "Lessons" and BAM! You're there! 

One of my personal favorite parts is the Drive Thru History videos they have! 

These not only teach Mr. B, but they are entertaining and fun to watch. We both enjoy watching and learning from these videos. 

And yet another section I have found particularly useful centers around Family Nutrition. We (M and I) are trying to get healthier in order to lead by better example. This course is truly beneficial for the whole family. It helps to show you what you are eating, and why you should really watch what you put into your body as food. 

Like always, the lessons are planned out nicely for you. 

Overall, I love the changes that have been taking place over at SchoolhouseTeachers.com, and after 3 years I still find this one of my most useful resources. It covers such a wide range of topics and subjects that I have yet been unable to find something great. If this looks like something you would love, and I'm super confident you WILL love it, then go NOW and sign up! If you go now, you will lock in your price! Prices are expected to increase in about a week or so, sooooo HURRY! Right now you can get in on the Christmas Sale still, and get a FULL YEAR for only $90! That's just $90 for EVERYTHING You'd need to homeschool your family from pre-K to graduation! They have also discounted their monthly plans! 

Schoolhouse Teachers Half Price Discount
We really do love SchoolhouseTeachers.com, and plan to continue to use it year after year! 
My FIRST SchoolhouseTeachers.com Review

My SECOND SchoolhouseTeachers.com Review
So once again, does SchoolhouseTeachers.com Pass my 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

YES!  Everything is archived and at your own pace. You can navigate as you need! 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

It is one of the best deals out there! 

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

With over 300 offerings, there's enough variety for sure. It's not boring, and the lessons are quick. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

How can it not? There's a variety of different methods, courses, age ranges, etc. 

I'm only one of several who have reviewed this site. So please, click the banner below to be whisked away to The Homeschool Review Crew to see what the others have to say! 

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}
*Post may contain affiliate links*
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, January 7, 2017

OT at home? Depends on what you consider a toy!

Some parents buy their kids fake plastic tools. I get mine real (just smaller) and let him use them for OT at home. ;) He's been boring a hole through a wooden block for an hour now, using a screw driver and a hammer. GREAT for hand eye coordination, proprioceptive and sensory in general, fine motor, etc. The hammer is just a 4oz hammer, but it works!

You see, my son is using fine motor skills to grip the screw driver, he needs proprioceptive skills for hand eye coordination and to judge how much pressure and force he needs. The best ways to develop these are by doing. Plus, there's the added auditory sensory stuff that he has a problem with that he must overcome,and of course he has to exercise patience, too. He's wearing gloves and safety goggles, so we have tactile and facial covered.This is a huge WIN WIN.

It's always good to think outside the box. It may not be the latest, greatest electronic gadget that all the kids are raving about, but this is a gift my son truly enjoys. AND it doesn't as a great therapy tool that we can use over and over and over. And, if I get a few home improvement projects out of it then even better! HAHA! 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Snow Surivial

Yes folks, it's that time of year again. That time when you realize too late that you are out of milk, bread, and eggs...and of course it's the night before a snow storm hits. This happened to us last night. I realized suddenly that Mr. B was out of food. He's quite picky, and has a limited number of items he will eat. He was down to oatmeal and a few smiley face potatoes. He had pepperoni, too. But he can't eat that kind of stuff late at night, or in large quantities due to other health needs. So I emailed M a rather long store list that included, among a bunch of other things, milk, bread, and toilet paper. He had just gotten off work, and I sprang the email on him. Poor guy. I hadn't thought about it being rush hour after work just before a snow storm. I guess you could say, it wasn't on my radar! (See what I did there?!) So um...yeah. He was battling the Big Blue Box Store the eve before the snow. 

I am usually much more "disaster ready" than this. I always keep tons of toilet paper on hand. Because, lets face it, few things could be worse than diarrhea with no toilet paper, and no way to get it. Amiright?! I am. So yeah, paranoia at play. I also usually have an extra 3 days of his meds, and a week's worth of food for him. But with flu and norovirus season upon us, I've stayed in the house. Ain't nobody got time for that! So yes, I am always prepared....except this time haha. 

How do you prepare? What do you do? 

I have certain things I always keep on hand, both at home and in the car. With out of state dr's visits all the time, and autism on the home front, we HAVE to stay prepared. 

1.) I always make sure he has his foods. With autism and gut issues, foods are a delicate topic. I always make sure he has what he needs, including somethings in case of power outage. I also always take an insulated bag with healthy treats and snacks in the car, just in case. Nothing like meds wearing off in the middle of a traffic jam and in the inevitable "I'M STARVING!" Chips, crackers, dried fruit, apples, dry cereal and the like are common. I also keep water! That is SUPER important to remember! WATER!

2.) MEDS! Meds are important. I ALWAYS make sure we have at least 3 days dose, and a week preferably. It's hard when insurance will only allow a refill a day or two in advance, and snow is coming. But we do our best. He has a couple of different options, so we are blessed that way. 

3.) Activities. Yes, playing in the snow is fun. But it's also cold, wet, and leads to colds. And you can't very well play in the snow if you are stuck on the highway in it! For home, I make sure we have a lot of hands on activity kits, books, and DVDs in case the cable goes out. Board games and candles are perfect for power outages. In the car, he has books, activity books, and electronic games that occupy him when we are stuck. 

4.) STAY WARM! We are looking into whole house generators, but right now the cost is prohibiting me from getting one. I NEED one since power outages are a huge trigger for his autism...but alas, I've not been able to afford it. (Any Generac people want a product review? I'll write up the BEST review ever for a Generac! Just saying....) But yes, warmth is so needed given his immune system. We have a kerosene heater that uses K1...and as much as it terrifies me given his sensory issues, and impulse issues, we have to stay warm and use it when the power goes out. I also have lots of blankets, warm PJs, and we keep things like handwarmers on hand that can be stuffed into clothing for warmth. In the car, I keep a coat for him all the time, and blankets. 

5.) Keep the car fueled up. If you are stuck on the highway during snow, that's bad. If you are stuck on the highway, 50 miles from home with 1/4 tank of gas...that's worse. I always fill up before leaving, and when we get to 1/2 tank I fill up again. If I'm not even down to 1/2 tank, I always fill up before getting on the freeway since the one we take has limited stops for gas, and I don't want to be stuck in the middle and run out. 

6.) Think safety. Keep an emergency kit in your car at all times, not just in the winter. I frequently drive 3-6 hours one way for his appts. That's a LOT of distance covered. I keep blankets, water, food, jumper cables, basic tools, spare tire (check the air in those!) medical/1st aid kits all in the car. I also have extra oil. windshield washer fluid, and stuff to clean the windshield. Once I was out and a semi in front of me blew an oil line. It sprayed oil all over my windshield! Fortunately, I was near a service station so I was able to go in and grab a bottle of Dawn dish detergent and use that mixed with their windshield stuff to clear my windows. Another lady wasn't as fortunate and had 0 money on her. I shared the love of my Dawn, and helped her, which leads me to my next prep...

7.) HAVE CASH ON HAND! I can't say that enough. Debit cards and checks have their place, but I've only had 1 instance where cash wasn't accepted, and it was a 6th floor hotel vending machine. Have cash on hand in the event a storm causes stores or gas stations to not be able to accept cards. Same for restaurants. It's good to keep cash in different place, too, if you are going out and about. your purse, locked in your glove box, your shoe...whatever. Just don't keep it all in one place for obvious reasons. Keep enough so that you can get gas, grab a bite to eat, and get help. Even better if you can cover that plus the cost of a new tire if needed. 

8.) Keep cell phones charged, and have extra back up "pocket juice" style chargers charged too. That way you can maintain contact, get assistance and help, and weather reports if needed. 

9.) Know where everyone is, and keep your shoes near by. In the event of a tornado, put your shoes ON. That way you aren't trying to walk through debris barefoot. Know where everyone is, even in the house, so that if the power goes out you can find them in the dark. Have a plan in place for such events. 

10.) GLOW STICKS ARE AWESOME! They really go a long way into providing needed light. They are cheap. And, they are easy to use. I keep several around my bed post, and we have them in our "go bag." It's great to use one on a string as a necklace for each kid so that you can find them, just make sure they "breakaway" easy so that the child doesn't hang themselves on accident. Exercise EXTREME caution anytime your kid has anything around their neck! 

These are just a few things we do to stay prepared. Each family will have their own unique set of needs, so it's best to create a preparedness plan for yourself, keeping in mind these tips and tricks! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Coconut oil to the rescue!

Have you ever done something incredibly stupid and thought, "WHY????!?" Well, I did that the other day. I have a black lambskin coat that I have had for about 15 years. I paid over $200 for this coat when it was about 50% off. Needless to say, I love this coat dearly. Without really thinking, I put it in the washer and washed it! WHY DID I DO THAT?!  I thought it was ruined. I never dried, but it was rough, it was just...ruined.

I have scoured the internet trying to determine was leather conditioners or oils I could buy to restore it. and something hit me tonight. I took my jar of coconut oil to it, and WAALAH! (How do you spell that even?!) It's good as new! It softened the leather, smoothed it, and it feels and looks FANTASTIC! So there you have. Coconut oil really does help everything!

Zonderkidz REVIEW

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
Can you believe it is already 2017? Can you believe this is my first review of the new year?? Wow! But what better way to start the year off right than with a review of The Beginner's Bible, brought you by the good folks of Zonderkidz?! Zonderkidz offers a whole host of  Christian goodies for kids, and The Beginner's Bible is no exception. 
The Beginner's Bible is a very color, durable hardback book for kids that teach them wonderful Bible stories. I hesitate to call this an actual Bible, since to me a Bible is less "story book" like, but for young kids it is a great introduction to the real thing.  This is not a tiny little book. It weighs around 2 pounds, and includes over 500 pages. 
The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
My thoughts:

This is a good "Bible stories" or "Bible education" book, but I do not like calling it a Bible, due to my own personal beliefs. It does not include everything the Bible includes, among other things, so due to that I do not wish to refer to it as a Bible. With that said, it is a very nice Biblical story book that includes many of the stories from the Bible, all arranged in the same order as they are found in the Bible, and separated by old and new testament divisions. So it is a good learning tool to teach younger children what stories happened in the old verses the new, and to teach the over all stories. I would not hand this off to my child and claim it to be a Bible, since it is not the same at all. But as a nice read aloud, bedtime stories, or reading material for an early reader I find this to be acceptable and lovely. 
The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
My son is much older than the recommended ages for this book, but I knew it would make for a very nice gift for my cousin's 6 young children once we were finished with our review. They are just now beginning their church journey, so I was hopeful they would appreciate an addition to their children's library with this wonderful collection of Bible stories. I was right, they all love it! 
The colors are vibrant and bold, and really go a long way with grabbing, and maintaining, the fleeting attention of a young child. The pictures are whimsical in nature, but very detailed. The images are cartoon like in nature, and very similar to what you'd find in other child based artwork. 
The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
The cover is a nice, durable hardback that, as I found out, is decently resistant to spills if you dry it up quickly. That's what I get for placing this on the kitchen counter right by an open glass of water the first day! HAHA! The pages aren't flimsy, but are thicker. This makes for easier turning, and kids can turn the pages without the added risk of easy tears like you'd find in your Bible with the more delicate paper.


Overall, I think this would be a great addition to any child's library. This would be a perfect birthday gift, or even a baby shower/new baby gift! The stories, what I have read so far, are accurate and written in a way that kids will be drawn in and can easily understand them. The illustrations are bold and whimsical, and the book is, as of now, quite durable. The images are cartoon like in nature, so Noah's Ark is presented in that "bathtub" style art and the characters are less than realistic looking. BUT that's what I would imagine for a young children's book. The Picture of Jonah swimming away from the whale makes me chuckle every time because his beard looks like a star fish! It includes more than the regular stories of Noah's Ark, The Creation, or Jonah that we are all familiar with, so that's fantastic, but it does not include ALL of the teachings in the Bible. So keep that in mind. I hesitate to call this a Bible, due to that, but for the intended purpose it works well.  The stories are good, and I think it would make for a really nice book to read to your kids early on, and then one for them to read later when they begin reading. The intended ages of 4-8 seem to be on par, but I could definitely see younger kids enjoying this being read to them, as well. 
The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
I would recommend this as a nice Children's Bible story book. 
Please check out the rest of The Homeschool Review Crew and see what others have to say about The Beginner's Bible by Zonderkidz! 
The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
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Monday, January 2, 2017

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

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Happy New Year!